The Best Batman Moments of All Time
|The Best Batman Moments of all Time. Batman’s 75th Anniversary|
This year marks Batman’s 75th anniversary. That is 75 years of an intricate mythos that weaves through almost every media format known to man. From the comic books that started Batman to live action TV, movies, video games, animated series, books, action figures and everything in between, Batman has become an icon in pop culture.
While sometimes losing its course, veering into campy and in some cases downright stupid scenarios, Batman always rebounded. From the campiness of the 1960’s live action show to the ultra gritty crime thriller in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, the story may have changed but the character has always endured.
We have collected the best Batman moments of all time for you to enjoy. We’ve pulled moments from all of the storytelling media Batman has appeared in over the last 75 years to bring you the Best Batman moments ever!
Hit the jump to see The Best Batman Moments of All Time…
|Detective Comics #27 – Batman’s first appearance|
Detective Comics #27
It was May 1939 when a comic book was released that would go on to change the world. That comic book was Detective Comics #27 when Batman made his first ever appearance. Originally an anthology comic book series, Detective Comics introduced Batman in “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate“. Batman was a dark, complicated character who didn’t think twice about murdering criminals if it stopped them from creating further mayhem.
Pick up the Detective Comics #27 poster from Amazon!
|Batman #1 Spring 1940|
Due to the popularity of Batman in Detective Comics, he was given his own quarterly comic book starting with Batman #1 in the Spring of 1940. The first issue of Batman began establishing a wider Batman universe including the introduction of Catwoman and The Joker.
Read Batman’s first stories in Batman Chronicles Volume 1 (Trade Paperback) on Amazon today!
In 1943, Batman took to the big screen for the first time. A 15 chapter serial simply titled Batman played before major films playing at cinemas. The plot involved Batman as a government agent set to bring down Japanese agent Dr. Daka during World War II. As many films made during the time period were, it was completely offensive, but proved a popular escape. So popular that it spawned a 1949 sequel titled Batman And Robin. In 1965, a re-release brought all 15 chapters together for a marathon showing titled “An Evening With Batman and Robin“. This proved so popular it led to the 1960’s live action series Batman.
Pick up Batman – The Complete 1943 Movie Serial Collection (DVD) from Amazon!
After the great success of the 1943 Batman serial, Columbia Pictures released a sequel serial series titled “Batman and Robin“. This 15 chapter serial once again played before major motion pictures in theaters and cemented Batman’s attraction for mainstream movie goers.
Pick up Batman and Robin – The Complete 1949 Movie Serial Collection (DVD) from Amazon!
|Batman the live action 1966 TV show|
Batman (Live Action TV Show)
While the 1943 serial was still running as “An Evening With Batman and Robin” into the 60’s, an ABC executive attended one of these viewing parties at the Playboy Club in Chicago where he was surprised at the reaction by the viewers. He went back to ABC and Batman the show was created. The show, which debuted twice weekly beginning in January 1966, was bright, lighthearted and extremely campy. The show had taken the light-hearted tone that the comics had taken on. Ironically, right before the show debuted, the comic books had gone back to it’s original dark, moody look.
With the success of the first season of the live action Batman TV show, a movie was rushed into production and released in July of 1966. It was the first time Batman would appear in a full length feature film in theaters. Batman: The Movie found Batman’s most infamous (& now famous) villains – The Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler & The Penguin – come together to hold the entire world for ransom. It also introduced The Bat Boat!
Buy Batman: The Movie (1966) (Blu-Ray) from Amazon now!
Frank Miller takes our favorite caped crusader a bit into the future in this four issue comic book miniseries that ran from February to June 1986. The Dark Knight Returns has a 55 year old Bruce Wayne, who has been retired from his life of fighting crime, is drawn back in as crime returns heavily to Gotham City. From there, the US Government asks Superman to stop Batman’s vigilante ways putting the two of them head to head.
Buy the masterpiece The Dark Knight Returns (Trade Paperback) from Amazon now!
In 1987, the legendary Frank Miller was given the chance to re-imagine The Dark Knight’s origins and he turned it into an absolute classic. From Batman #404 – #407 Miller stripped down the entire Batman universe and focused on the story. In Batman: Year One Bruce Wayne tries to figure out a way to become a vigilante while a cop named James Gordon joins the Gotham City Police Department. This is classic Frank Miller…and classic storytelling.
Buy Batman: Year One (Trade Paperback) from Amazon today!
In the 1988 comic Batman #428, Jason Todd, the 2nd Robin, was killed off. While Jason was initially popular with fans, he became increasingly unpopular which left DC Comics to decide what to do with him. They left it up to the fans themselves, setting up a 1-900 number where fans could vote if they wanted him to live or die. By a vote of 5,343 to 5,271 the fans decided it was time for Robin to go. And go he did in A Death In The Family.
Catch the whole story in Batman- A Death In The Family (Trade Paperback) from Amazon!
This 1988 one shot told the story of The Joker’s life through flashbacks. This was the first time that The Joker’s full origin story had been told. It shows The Joker as the complete psycho that he is – and questions if Batman is exactly the same. It is also the issue that had The Joker viciously shoot Barbara Gordon causing her to become paralyzed – a move that would effect the entire Batman universe forever.
Pick up Batman: The Killing Joke (Hardcover Deluxe Edition) from Amazon!
|Batman Annual #14 “The Eye of The Beholder”|
The Eye of the Beholder
While we had seen various tellings of how Harvey Dent become Two-Face over Batman’s lengthy history, we had never seen the story focused solely on him. Batman Annual #14 in 1990 changed that. We see Dent slowly change from a man who wanted to do good to the tortured monster he became – both inside and out.
|1989’s Batman directed by Tim Burton|
It had been over twenty years since Batman had last been on the big screen. So it was curious that Warner Brothers chose Tim Burton, a director with only two directing credits to his name. That gamble payed off for 1989’s Batman. Burton’s visual style stripped the campiness of the previous movie incarnations of Batman and made it more adult. There is no doubt that what Burton laid down here and it’s sequel Batman Returns, was the foundation from which Christopher Nolan would make his masterful The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Buy Batman (1989) (Blu-Ray) from Amazon!
|Jack Nicholson as The Joker in 1989’s Batman|
Part insane, part charming, Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of The Joker was lauded as one of the best Batman moments up until that point (& still argued today). While Heath Ledger would later redefine the character as a cold, mass murderer, Jack Nicholson’s take brought some humanity to the role. Two very different takes on the same character are one of the things that make Batman the enduring icon that he is.
|Catwoman’s Skintight outfit in Batman Returns|
Catwoman’s Skin Tight Outfit in Batman Returns
Fanboys rejoiced and parents took a double take as the first promo images for Michelle Pfeiffer in the now iconic Catwoman outfit debuted for Batman Returns. It was quite apparent that Tim Burton’s dark vision for his Batman series was more for adults than children. Part bondage, part home sewn, Pfeiffer’s Catwoman became the definitive (& sexiest) version of the character for decades to come.
Buy Batman Returns (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
|Danny Devito as The Penguin in Batman Returns|
The Penguin Takes A Bite
Tim Burton definitely created a dark, beautiful, twisted world with his two Batman films. That was completely apparent when The Penguin, played wonderfully by Danny Devito in Batman Returns, decides he can no longer deal with an annoying aide from the Mayor’s office. So he bites his nose off. Dark and gruesome, it was evident that Burton wasn’t playing around.
Beginning in April 1993, DC Comics began a very long story arc titled “Knightfall” which would rock the Batman universe and have repercussions that last to this day. Slowly building throughout all of the Batman titles before exploding in the climax, the Knightfall storyline followed mastermind Bane as he frees all of the inmates at Arkam Asylum unleashing many of Batman’s foes onto the Gotham City public. In Batman #497, Bane makes his move and attacks a weakened Batman by breaking his back.
Read the entire storyline buy buying Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback) from Amazon!
‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Opening Credits & Theme Song
Batman: The Animated Series debuted on September 5, 1992 on Fox, only months after Batman Returns hit theaters. The series followed Tim Burton’s darker version of Batman and went even further with 1940’s inspired design that would be dubbed “Dark Deco”. The opening credits of Batman: The Animated Series showed that this wasn’t your little brothers Batman cartoon. The images dark and violent, the music haunting and epic.
Pick up Batman: The Animated Series: Volume One (DVD) from Amazon today!
|Batman: The Animated Series “Heart of Ice”|
“Heart of Ice”
Heart of Ice is the 14th episode in Season 1 of Batman: The Animated Series and is one of the most powerful stories in the Batman mythos. Mr. Freeze makes his first B:TAS appearance and “Heart of Ice” legitimizes the character which led to his inclusion in Batman & Robin. The writers of B:TAS changed up Mr. Freeze’s backstory from the comics into something tragic, compelling and most of all, sympathetic. Greed from a company essentially kills Mr. Freeze’s wife, the only woman he ever loved. This turns him into the cold, frozen hearted villain that we know today. This episode and origin story were so powerful, the comic books ret-conned the official story with this episodes backstory.
Watch Batman: The Animated Series ‘Heart of Ice’ on Amazon Instant Video!
|Batman: The Animated Series “Almost Got ‘Im”|
“Almost Got ‘Im”
The 46th episode in Season 1 of Batman: The Animated Series rounded up some of Batman’s most classic villains. The Joker, The Penguin, Two-Face and Poison Ivy trade stories about how each of them almost “got” Batman. One of the few lighthearted episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, the storyline is a classic Batman story.
Watch Batman: The Animated Series ‘Almost Got ‘Im’ on Amazon Instant Video!
While Ra’s al Ghul first appeared in Batman #232 in June 1971, it was Batman: Birth of the Demon in 1992 that finally told his origin story. Born some 600 years before appearing in Batman, Ra’s al Ghul discovers the Lazarus Pit and begins experiments with it. His first subject, a dying prince, is saved by the Lazarus Pit but is driven insane by its properties, eventually killing al Ghul’s wife. The prince’s father blames Ra’ al Ghul for his sons crimes and punishes him to death. The story brings Ra’s al Ghul from a second tier villain to one of Batman’s fiercest opponents. It also created a deeper story for Bruce Wayne as he fell in love with al Ghul’s daughter Talia.
Buy Batman: Birth of the Demon (Trade Paperback) from Amazon today!
Released shortly after Batman Returns, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was the movie spin-off of Batman: The Animated Series. Hitting theaters in December 1993, the film shows Batman defending himself as he is incorrectly implicated in a series of murders. Very dark, yet accessible to children, the film perfectly captured the essence of the original comic books and is considered a Batman classic to fans.
Buy Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (DVD) from Amazon today!
|“Chicks love the car” Batman Forever Batmobile|
“Chicks Love The Car”
While Batman Forever may be known today for bringing the Batman film franchise back to it’s television campiness, there were some decent moments in the film. One of them was when Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman) begins flirting with Val Kilmer’s Batman before he responds “It’s the car, right? Chicks love the car.”
Buy Batman Forever (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
This 13 issue limited comic book series was published between 1996 and 1997 and tells a story set earlier in Batman’s career where he must stop a killer named Holiday who murders people each month – but only on a holiday. Ingeniously, the story also ties into the events that led Harvey Dent to become Two-Face. Tight, gripping and compelling, The Long Halloween is a classic Batman moment.
Buy Batman: The Long Halloween (Trade Paperback) from Amazon today!
|Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl in Batman And Robin|
While Batman and Robin essentially killed what was left of the Batman movie franchise up until that point, there were a few highlights in the film. One of which was the first live action take of Batgirl. Alicia Silverstone (& her nipples) certainly were a cool addition if you had fully embraced the campiness that Joel Schumacher dished out in his two Batman films. If you didn’t care for the camp, you certainly didn’t appreciate Batgirl (but may still have appreciated her Bat nipples). Batman and Robin was so bad that Batman Triumphant, the next film in the pipeline, was cancelled.
Buy Batman & Robin (Blu-Ray) from Amazon now!
|The New Adventures of Batman – “Over The Edge”|
“Over The Edge”
In 1997 Fox had retooled and re-branded Batman: The Animated Series as “The New Batman Adventures“. This series chronologically took place two years after Batman: TAS ended and added Robin, Batgirl and Nightwing as main cast members to appeal more to children and be less serious in tone. “Over The Edge” was the twelfth episode in the first season of “The New Batman Adventures” and found Commissioner Gordon out to destroy Batman after the death of his daughter Barbara (Batgirl). Gordon discovers their identities and enlists the Gotham City Police Department to get them by any means necessary. Touching and epic, even the more lightheartedness tone of “The New Batman Adventures” didn’t distract from this powerful storytelling.
Buy The New Batman Adventures (DVD) from Amazon today!
Another adaptation of the character in an “alternative universe”, Batman Beyond was another animated take on the character – this time bringing him into the future. Debuting in 1999, Batman Beyond took place approximately 20 years in the future and had a new, teen-aged Batman being mentored by an elderly Bruce Wayne. The episode “Out Of The Past” was the fourth episode of the third and final season. Bruce’s former lover Talia returns to Gotham to offer him a chance at eternal youth through the Lazarus pit. As always, the story is everything with Batman and this story does not disappoint.
Buy Batman Beyond: Season 3 (DVD) from Amazon today!
Continuing in the tradition of extremely good animated Batman movies, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was released in 2000 to much acclaim. With the success of the Batman Beyond TV show, this feature length movie found Terry McGinnis, the teenage Batman uncovering the mystery of what happened when Bruce Wayne had fought The Joker for the last time.
Buy Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
Between 2002 and 2003, the legendary Jim Lee returned to monthly comic book art for a 9 month long arc that became one of the best selling Batman arcs of all time. Batman: Hush had a mysterious character named Hush coming to Gotham City to sabotage Batman and release his true identity. The story incorporated a large number of Batman villains, friends and foes and brought them together in a masterful story.
Buy Batman: Hush (Trade Paperback) from Amazon today!
|Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins reinvigorated the franchise|
In 2005, after the abysmal failure of Batman & Robin, and after 8 years without a Batman live action film, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins hit theaters. Not only did the reboot rejuvenate the Batman franchise once again, but it changed comic book movies forever. While comic book movies were previously light-hearted and fantastical, Nolan’s dark, serious and most importantly, grounded in reality take on the Caped Crusader cause Hollywood to take notice. For the first time, a Batman film wasn’t about it’s colorful villains and high tech gadgetry. In fact, the main villain in Batman Begin’s is Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson) who, by his very nature, is rather unremarkable.
Buy Batman Begins (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
|Batman Begins The Scarecrow|
Proving once again that Christopher Nolan would not take the Batman mythos into un-reality, The Scarecrow is the secondary villain in Batman Begins – but a big catalyst for the events in The Dark Knight Trilogy. A psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Jonathan Crane (played by Cillian Murphy) performed experiments in fear. There was no brightly colored spandex, no campy one-liners. It was simply a terrifying mad man who donned a terrifying mask to hide his identity.
|Batman Begins – The Joker’s Calling Card|
Escalating Violence Hints at The Joker
To say that this scene made every fanboy in the world squee with joy would be a total understatement. At the end of Batman Begins Commissioner Gordon lets Batman know that the violence and mayhem will only escalate. He hints at what’s to come as a Joker playing card is shown in an evidence bag before the credits roll.
This four issue mini series ran from February to May 2006 and removed everything you ever knew about Batman. Indie writer Paul Pope got a chance to bring his unique sensibilities to the Batman universe with this one off series. Batman: Year 100 took place in 2039 with Gotham in a Big Brother-like police state. There is no Alfred or Commissioner Gordon. The true alias of Batman is unknown even to the reader. But through four issues we get to see one writers visionary take on an iconic character.
Buy Batman: Year 100 (Trade Paperback) from Amazon today!
|The Dark Knight – The Joker – theatrical poster|
The Dark Knight ‘The Joker’ Theatrical Poster
The internet was buzzing with what was thought to be a horrible choice in casting Heath Ledger as The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. BUT – demand was so pent up for just a glimpse, that when the first look at Christopher Nolan’s The Joker appeared in the form of a theatrical poster the internet rejoiced!
Buy The Dark Knight “The Joker” Theatrical Poster from Amazon today!
|The Dark Knight – theatrical poster|
The Dark Knight
While Batman Begins was a financial success, it was even more so a critical success. After the Joker hint that Christopher Nolan left us with at the end of Batman Begins anticipation for the follow up was hitting fever pitch. Released on July 14, 2008, The Dark Knight fired on all cylinders. Not only a comic book movie masterpiece, The Dark Knight was a cinematic masterpiece. Dramatic, thrilling and visually stunning, the film managed to be an absolutely amazing movie that happened to feature a man dressed as a bat.
Buy The Dark Knight (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
|The Interrogation scene from The Dark Knight|
The Interrogation Scene
When Batman is given the chance to come face to face with The Joker for the first time, it is absolutely stunning cinema. Heath Ledger truly gave the performance of his career with his maniacal take on The Joker. The scene finds The Joker pushing all of the right buttons telling Batman that he is no better then himself. “To them, you’re just a freak..like me!”
Released in 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum is an action adventure game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as computer consoles. Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini, the story had The Joker trapping Batman in Arkham Asylum to unleash the foes he had previously locked away. The game went on to recieve so many awards it holds the Guiness World Record for the “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever”. Following the tone of Christopher Nolan’s Batman universe, the game was clearly targeted towards adults.
Pick up Batman: Arkham Asylum (X-Box or PlayStation) from Amazon today!
After the runaway success of Batman: Arkham Asylum, a sequel was released in 2011. Batman: Arkham City once again had Paul Dini writing. This time Batman was locked in a mega-prison called Arkham City. Arkham City expanded the world to include more side quests and one offs then its predecessor. Batman: Arkham City went on to win numerous awards, including Game of the Year.
Pick up Batman: Arkham City (X-Box or Playstation) from Amazon today!
|The Dark Knight Rises theatrical poster|
The Dark Knight Rises
After the runaway success of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had the world’s expectations on his shoulders for the follow up. Released July 20, 2012 The Dark Knight Rises was the final chapter in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. Purposefully, he showed that Batman was human after all as he went up against his toughest opponent yet: Bane.
|Batman & Catwoman team up|
Batman & Selina Kyle Kick Butt
One of the “fanboys rejoice” moments in The Dark Knight Rises was the scene where Batman and Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman – although she’s never called that in the movie) team up to kick ass on some bad guys. It was amazing to see these two on a rooftop, clad in black, and taking names.
|Robin revealed in The Dark Knight Rises|
Fans had buzzed about the casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises. It was an “is he?” or “isn’t he?” back and forth on message boards around the world. Many fans worried about how Robin would be portrayed- if Robin would ever be at all- in Christopher Nolan’s dark Batman universe. Most fans were appeased when it was revealed that Gordon-Levitt was in fact Robin. There would be no bright yellow spandex in Nolan’s universe though. In this universe, Robin inherits the Batcave and everything in it from Bruce Wayne himself. We are left to wonder if he would not become the Robin we know, but just assume the mantle of Batman altogether.
Buy The Dark Knight Trilogy (Blu-Ray) from Amazon today!
|Fox tv show Gotham|
Although it hasn’t yet aired it’s first episode, the Fox show Gotham is shaping up to be one of the best Batman moments in history. A prologue, of sorts, Gotham has a young cop named Jim Gordon investigating the murder of a 12 year old Bruce Wayne’s parents. The show also explores the interesting relationship with the cat burglar Selina Kyle. Fox promises that Gotham will slowly build the origin stories of all of the classic Batman characters we know and love.
So there you have it! Our best Batman moments of all time! Do you agree? Disagree? Think we’ve missed something? Let us know in the comments!